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#129: Remember That "The Decision Maker" May be More than Just One Person

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, September 10, 2009
This has happened twice in the past year: I reach an agreement with a prospect on a project, only to be told that "the management team" or "a project review committee" has decided not to go ahead. How can I keep this from happening?

There are two likely sources of this outcome. One is that you were really not talking to the fully qualified buyer. If someone does not have the authority to "issue the order" to start your engagement, then you should find the person who does. However, the model of a single qualified buyer may be flawed. It may be that the person was qualified as an individual but that, in your case, the decision does not rest with a single individual. If "the management team" is making the decision, you need to be addressing the team, or at least the most influential members of the team, with your proposed value and approach.

Tip: If a board of directors or management team is making the decision to retain you, see if you can get some time in front of the entire group before the decision is made. This gives you some sense of who members are as individuals, their decision style, how they interact, and (hopefully) their disposition to using consultants and their attitudes about the situation or problem you propose to address. In addition to collecting market intelligence about the organization, issue and decision makers, it may be appropriate for you to presell or discuss your proposed approach or value with the board. Don't leave it to your prospect as an individual to convey your message to the decision making body as a whole.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  market research  marketing  proposals  prospect 

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